The “Ford Way” to F1 Rings the Alarm Bells for Red Bull’s Partnership: “Fighting a System That Was Never…”

Published 02/12/2023, 5:45 AM EST

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Red Bull and Ford shocked everyone with the announcement of their partnership for engine supplies, starting in 2026 and lasting until at least 2030 for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri. The partnership is key for the F1 team, as it looked for a partner in Porsche previously, to develop the engine based on the new regulations coming into force in 2026. So now, one can say that the Milton Keynes team must be relieved given Ford’s glorious history in the sport, as it boasts 10 constructors’ championships and 13 drivers’ championships.

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But it isn’t all that easy, as former Jaguar driver Johnny Herbert points out the red flags that he witnessed at the team owned and managed by Ford. The team was named Jaguar by Ford to promote its premium brand, but all the engineering was Ford’s. So, the former British driver’s statements raise valid points and caution that Red Bull must consider as they decide how to proceed with their partnership with the American behemoth.

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As quoted by Motorsport Magazine, Johnny Herbert, a three-time GP winner, said, “The team was taken over by Ford and badged as Jaguar – all of Jackie’s way of running things was gone, switched off like a light. In charge was a Ford company man from Detroit called Neil Ressler, who had no understanding of how racing worked. He’d call a meeting of 30 team people and say, ‘If you guys won’t do this the Ford way, we’ll get some guys who will.”

” It was a great shame, because the car was potentially very good. In the little Stewart team we were all racers; Ford threw heaps of people at it, but none of them were racers. They didn’t realise that, rather than trying to manage, they should let the people with experience do their jobs.”

Jaguar Racing was the same team that was rebranded as Red Bull Racing in 2005. So, nearly two decades later, Ford is making a comeback to its own team. With things having been shady and unpleasant in the past, both entities will be on the lookout.

Red Bull Ford stripped of rookie status

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As per the common notion, each new entrant, be it a driver or a constructor, is awarded a rookie status in their first season in Formula 1. However, according to the GP Blog, the same will not be provided to Red Bull and Ford when they join forces for the first time in 2026.

So, what is the reason for this? It is so because of Ferrari’s protest, later joined in by other engine manufacturers, including Mercedes, Renault, and Audi, set to join the grid in the same year, successfully making their case that Red Bull Powertrains would have sufficient knowledge until the new regulations come out. Hence, as per the FIA ruling, there will not be a special status for the partnering duo, thus leaving the status only for Audi in 2026. 

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WATCH THIS STORY: Ugliest Moments in Hamilton-Rosberg Rivalry

Red Bull has had several partners in its F1 journey. Do you think Helmut Marko and Christian Horner will be able to handle Ford’s hand if it tries to dominate?

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Written by:

Manan Goel

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Manan Goel is a Formula 1 author at EssentiallySports. As a literature student at Delhi University, he had been a geek for fiction and a nerd for sports. He claims Sebastian Vettel was his first love after seeing him at the Indian Grand Prix, and he has been a fan of the sport and Red Bull ever since.
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Edited by:

Varunkumaar Chelladurai

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